I'm behind blogging on here, Last Wednesday we went to court to have Emma's birth mom relinquish her parents rights- this is how it went
The nervousness didn't hit until we were sitting outside the courtroom waiting, and waiting and waiting. Brad got off work early, he was to get off at 4 and court was at 4:20 and we didn't want to be late. We got there and we waited outside the courtroom. 2 of the 3 caseworkers we've had throughout this whole process were there, which was nice. When we got there the 3:40 case still had not gone in yet, so we knew we had a little waiting to do. Plus Emma's birth mom still wasn't there. Our birth mom and the caseworker were playing phone tag, bad! She (birth mom) was stuck in traffic with some construction going on but said she would be there.
Finally around 5:15 it was our turn! Only problem, NO birth mom! We went in and get started, the Judge said we would take a 5 minute recess and if she wasn't there by then we would have to re-schedule. I was about to lose it. This was our second court date and I was getting sick of all the back and forth, it's going to be this day then she changed her mind and so on and so on! We were down to the wire, Emma woke up from her nap during the recess. We took her around the room, as everyone there wanted to see her. Have I mentioned that she is the cutest baby Ever!?! (And I have asked our caseworker about when I can post pictures of Emma, Not until we finalize! Really? Yeah, it sucks but she is still DCFS' until we finalize and she becomes ours! ) It was even more special to me that one of my old visiting teachers was there! Total coincidence that she happens to work at the courthouse and was in on our case! We moved out of that ward 1 1/2 years ago and I haven't seen her since then. It made me even more emotional to have someone that has been involved in our pursuit of parenthood there with us!!! She kept looking at me and smiling, which made me cry!
Right at the 5 minute mark her birth mom go there!!!! We were sitting right by the window and could see her birth mom. A sweet moment I want to remember- I was looking out the window at birth mom, while holding Emma, and birth mom looked through the window too and I saw her mouth, "Oh I can see her!" as she started to cry! I don't know why I really liked that, but I did.
We were all in the court room and birth mom's attorney and DCFS' attorney were in and out of the courtroom talking to birth mom before she came in. I've been SO afraid she was going to change her mind! Our caseworker kept reminding me that she has the right to. I think it was DCFS' attorney that came back in and told me, "She's relinquishing!" I, of course, started crying. Our first caseworker, the one that brought Emma to us, told me, "She's yours!" Then Emma's attorney threw in, Don't tell them that yet, I've had the unexpected happen! Finally 15 minutes into our 5 minute recess we started! Oh and I gave Emma to her birth mom who held her throughout the whole thing.
The attorneys kept asking our caseworker, Are you sure it's okay for the foster parents to be in here? I guess it is unheard of to have the foster parents there in court when the mom relinquishes like that! It was a neat experience. Everyone also loved that birth mom got to hold Emma as she signed!
It was a weird/ cool experience, we all rose when the Judge came in and he swore our birth mom under oath. They then asked birth mom a few questions. DCFS had to make it known that they are still willing to work with birth mom, which of course kind of worried me that she would change her mind! They asked if she was doing this of her own freewill and had to make sure no one was pressuring her into it, or paying her or anything. They made it clear that there is a zero, 0, grace period and once she signed there was NO turning back or changing her mind! They asked if she was doing this in the best interests of the child, oh course she said yes. Our Judge talked about how selfless it was for her to do so, to realize that it was what was best for Emma and not what was best for birth mom. Birth mom's only request was that she got one last visit with Emma. We had already planned on one so it was no big deal. As you can imagine, birth mom and I were both bawling the whole time! She held Emma as she signed the papers. I saw as she learned down to Emma and told her, "Your being so strong for me!" and said "I love you" at least 2 to 3 times. Immediately after they gave the signed papers to the judge birth mom said, "What have I done? What did I just do?" It was so heartbreaking to watch her!
Oh and the birth father is not on the birth certificate, they weren't married and he has not try to contact her at all, so he has no rights! DCFS does have to do 1 more process to make sure he isn't looking for Emma, but after 7 months of not trying anything we're 99% sure he isn't looking for her. If he ever does come looking for her after we have finalized then we will have to go to court, but our caseworker reassured me that he will have no chance of getting her! Because he has not initiated any parental rights he has none and it is considered abandonment.
When it was done we all went outside the court room and talked. Birth mom told/asked me, "Promise you will keep her forever and ever?" We decided to do the final visit Thursday morning. I'm really excited for the visit, but sad for our birth mom at the same time! I'm anxious to get pictures of Emma with her birth mom so she will always know what she looks likes. We also have some info we want from her for Emma. Birth mom kept thanking us. It was weird to have her thank us, it should be the other way around. I can't believe it, I'm still in shock. We've been waiting for this baby for 6 years and it's happening! It's really going to happen! Emma is going to be our daughter Forever! Brad's a dad and I'm a mom!
Once we were done we called our parents, who had NO idea we were going to court today! We didn't want to call and tell them we were going to and then have to call again when we were done and like last time, have it fall through. So it was nice to shock everyone when we announced it was DONE, it's official! It was really funny when both our moms at the same time asked where we got S...... (Emma's middle name also her birth mom's name) from. Then Brad's mom asked how to spell it, then 30 seconds later my mom ask too! Yes I know some people think it's weird that we are naming our daughter after her birth mom. I can't explain how or why, but Brad and I both fell in love with the name. I know some people don't have the same respect for our birth mom as we do... Yes, she has made mistakes, she has not been the most reliable person, BUT she gave our daughter life. Without her, I would still be childless and in pain. So for that reason I have a love and respect for her that no one would understand unless you've been in my shoes.
- I typed this all up Wednesday night. I was up to 3 AM finishing the birth moms gifts. Then I had to be up by 8:30 to make sure we were ready for the visit. Then, guess what? Birth mom didn't show! It's very typical for her not to show to visits. I just really want pictures of her with Emma and info for Emma to have. The caseworker is giving her 1 more chance for a final visit and if she doesn't show then it's her own fault. I'm really disappointed that we couldn't be done today. Then my aunt called and offered to throw me a baby shower, so that made my day way better! (Thanks Aunt Sue, I'm SOOOO excited!!!) Plus this all happened on Aunt Sue's birthday!
And yes I know it's weird that it's obvious what our birth mom's name is, but we do have confidentiality and we need to be careful about all the info we share, so she will always be referred to as Birth Mom on this blog unless she tells me otherwise. She has my blog address so she can look at it and read what is going on with her J, our Emma.
A few months after all this happened I was telling birth mom about something that I said while we waited for her to show up. This was our second court date, because at the last minute birth mom wanted more time to prepare for court. Even though I 100% understood where she was coming from it was still emotionally hard. So when we were sitting in the court room waiting for her to show up I looked at our caseworker and told her, "She has to show up! I can't keep doing this!" She reminded me that birth mom might get there but have decided not to relinquish. It was SO emotionally draining I didn't think I could bare to do it all over again. As I told birth mom about this she told me, "I wasn't going to show up that day! We were already so late I decided not to go, but as soon as we got into town I knew I needed to at least try. When I got to the courthouse the doors were locked. The guard came out and asked for my name and let me in."